I was trying to come up with some specific examples of I-learned-this-from-this-book and I cannot come up with anything. I have been rereading lately the two most influential authors of my youth: Cynthia Voigt and Madeleine L'Engle. I read my favorite books about the Tillerman family and the Austin family at least twice a year for years.
The reason I loved both of these authors is that reading their books made me feel smart. The first time I read them, I enjoyed the story and that was about all I got out of it. But Madeleine L'Engle, especially, fills her Young Adult books with quotations and philosophy and the great moral questions. I did not always agree with her conclusions, but the way she asked the questions inspired me to find my own answers in the scriptures and in the words of the prophets.
Maybe my favorite L'Engle book is "A Ring of Endless Light." I was excited a few years back because the Disney channel made a movie out of it (starring Mischa Barton, no less AND Jared Padelecki from Gilmore Girls) - but it was terrible. Really terrible. Not just bad-movie-adaptation (although it was that as well). The whole movie was awful.
Anyway, just finished rereading this book, and I could not help remembering all of my favorite bits. Here is my favorite quote from the book (and in googling, I find that L'Engle is actually quoting Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit priest, paleontologist and philosopher born in 1881):
"Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God."
How beautiful is that?